Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall spoke at Wednesday’s Chamber of Commerce awards luncheon. A few of the Shocker-related points that he made during his talk.
- He thinks players (and employees) will give their leader more if they believe the leader cares about them. He told two stories, both of which demonstrated how much his wife and family are involved in the team. One player told the Marshalls he likes strawberries dipped in chocolate, so the Marshalls bought one of those home chocolate fountains for a team dinner. One Saturday, Marshall came home to find Garrett Stutz asleep on his sofa. Marshall was touched that the freshman felt comfortable enough to come to his home to watch football and crash.
- Marshall sees J.T. Durley and Stutz emerging next season as leaders. That is another measure of how far Durley has come from two seasons ago, when the coach wondered if he owned the necessary work ethic. Stutz, even when he didn’t play much, continued to do the right things in practice, take instruction from coaches and talk on the court to help teammates. Marshall said next would be unusual because he sees big men as his main leaders. He also mentioned Gabe Blair as a leader. Blair is not afraid to speak his mind, which is something Marshall likes in the right moments.
- X-Man didn’t walk through the door when WSU was 0-6 in the MVC. The team didn’t magically mature to turn its season around. Marshall credited the home crowd for the Creighton game. The fans, in his mind, gave the Shockers some confidence that day by packing Koch Arena. Beating Creighton that day started the Shockers on the right path.
- He sees a different look with the returners as they prepare for next season. No longer do the coaches need to teach them how to compete. In Marshall’s words, they know what they are at WSU to do.